When operating at peak performance, a nurse advice line can have a substantial cost and experience impact for health plans and healthcare providers—from decreasing unnecessary ER and urgent care visits to improved utilization of healthcare benefits and resources.

It’s important to note, however, that a nurse advice interaction can meet all of the standard quality criteria (such as evidence-based symptom assessment and accurate, timely triage) and still not yield a satisfying patient or user experience.

That’s why Carenet Health designed its 24/7 Nurse Advice Line Customer Satisfaction Survey to monitor not only the levels, but also the critical components, of patient satisfaction levels.

Recent analysis of more than 4,000 of those phone survey responses revealed several interesting findings that paint a picture of factors that can make or break a nurse advice line experience.

Repeat callers were especially happy callers

Repeat nurse advice line callers had a 6-percentage-point higher overall satisfaction score when compared to first-time callers. Evidence suggests this may be due to a repeat caller’s familiarity and better understanding of the nurse advice process after a positive first experience.

%

%

repeat caller overall satisfaction

first-time user overall satisfaction

Two satisfaction factors stood out

The most dominant influencers of a satisfactory nurse advice experience found in this dataset were: response time and nurse demeanor.

Patient experience and nurse confidence were closely related

If callers felt their triage nurse sounded confident, they reported better experiences—and that confidence also increased the likelihood that patients would follow the nurse’s recommendation.

Perceived concern was multi-faceted

A nurse’s perceived level of concern, based on the dataset’s user satisfaction findings, was made up of these factors:

  • Compassion/caring
  • Listening skills
  • Tone of voice
  • Patience/not rushing the interaction

Care coordinator interactions were important, too

Satisfaction with care coordinators (nurse hotline intake team members) centered around professionalism, friendliness and a sense that the coordinator genuinely wants to help the user.

Overall, this study demonstrates that the “people factor” continues to be key to user satisfaction in nurse triage encounters. Effective, caring teams of nurses and care coordinators can be the difference in a user’s experience—even helping to overcome unexpected wait times or an unstable call/chat connection.

As a pioneer in nurse advice and telehealth for three decades, Carenet has learned how to transform a telephonic registered nurse (RN) service into a high-quality asset for our clients. Contact us today to learn how we can customize a telehealth solution to meet your unique needs, including a focused ER diversion program with a substantial ROI.

You can discover additional insights into high-performing nurse advice lines by reading our nurse triage best-practices ebook.

Notes: Inherent in the use of our typical satisfaction surveys are factors that can skew results, especially when making general observations from a random sample of data. Dataset was collected from Carenet Health’s 2016 Nurse Advice Line Customer Satisfaction Surveys.